The United States won the 2019 Women’s World Cup on Sunday, beating the Netherlands 2-0. It was a hard fought match that led to the US winning a record-setting four World Cup soccer (football) contests.
Many people had expected the Americans to win. The US had many experienced players who had been on successful World Cup teams in the past. They were also the winners of the last World Cup in 2015.
Still, they had tough competition along the way. The US faced serious challenges from both France and England. But the American team, with a long list of talented players, always managed to come out on top.
But yesterday’s match against the Netherlands was especially tight. The Netherlands won the European championship in 2017. Neither team was able to score in the first half. The US made several attempts, but Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal held them off with some amazing saves.
But 61 minutes into the game, the US was given a penalty kick. Megan Rapinoe, the US captain, drove in the goal, giving the US a 1-0 lead. It was Rapinoe’s sixth goal of the contest, tying her teammate Alex Morgan and England’s Ellen White for the most goals scored during the World Cup.
About eight minutes later, Rose Lavelle brought the ball up the field by herself from near the midfield line. Her quick, hard left-footed shot brought the score to 2-0. The Dutch team worked hard during the final 20 minutes, but was unable to score.
Rapinoe was given two awards in the contest – the Golden Boot for being the top scorer, and the Golden Ball, for being the most outstanding (best) player. Van Veenendaal was chosen as the best goalkeeper.
The US side has been praised for the way they play and their strength as a team, but they have also been criticized by some for their attitudes. Some people felt like the US celebrated their goals too much. Others have pointed out that men’s teams are not criticized for celebrating their victories.
The amazing play by the US team is likely to help focus attention on differences between the way male and female teams are treated. The players on the US women’s team are taking the US Soccer Federation to court for being unfair.
Even though the US women are more successful than the US men and their games earn more money and have more fans, the men are still paid much more. For example, in 2015, the US women won the World Cup and were given a $1.7 million bonus. But in 2014, the US men were defeated early in the men’s World Cup, but were given a $5.4 million bonus.
This World Cup contest is a good reminder of how popular women’s soccer is. Tickets to the opening game, the semi-finals, and the final game were all sold out in less than 48 hours. Around 1 billion people are believed to have watched the women’s World Cup this year.
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